Valentine’s Day may be just around the corner, but that’s not what many women all over the world are looking forward to this year. Instead, they’re preparing themselves for what is to be, perhaps, the largest culmination of women fighting to put an end to violence against women. On February 14, 2013, one billion women from different countries will Strike, Dance, and Rise as part of a global effort to free women from all forms of oppression.

Eve Ensler, the Tony-award winning playwright of The Vagina Monologues, who spearheaded the campaign, shares that One Billion Rising was inspired by her time in the Congo where women who have been through the worst were channelling their pain into dance.

“They turn it, they transform it into this strength and I just thought, ‘Oh my God, what if we got a billion survivors on the planet—all of these women who have survived violence—to dance and transform their pain on the same day, you know?’ And it’s happening!” she shares.

Here in the Philippines, women from near and far have started learning the One Billion Rising song and dance by heart thanks to the efforts of Gabriela, The New Voice Company, Gabriela Women's Party and other women's groups. Stage actress Monique Wilson, one of the driving forces in the One Billion Campaign, says that the response has been astounding.

“We’ve had so many One Billion Rising launches around the Philippines: Negros, Dumaguete, Bicol, Baguio, Cordilleras, Davao, Iloilo, Cebu—it’s really all over the Philippines and in so many schools they’ve had their launches, so the response has really been overwhelming which kind of just tells me na talagang siguro hinihintay talaga ng tao ang opportunity na ito (... so the response has really been overwhelming which kind of just tells me that maybe the people have really been waiting for this opportunity.).”

Scroll through the gallery for snippets of the interview with Eve and Monique:

(All photos by Mike Dee)

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